TEL AVIV (Jan. 25)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who will leave Friday for a visit to Washington, London and Paris, said today he planned to discuss with officials in those capitals the extent to which the world powers could use their influence to and Arab hostility toward Israel. He stated that his talks would include the question of arms reaching the Middle East.
Emphasizing that his talks would not be devoted entirely to the arms question, he explained that most arms reaching the Arabs were not coming from Western powers and also that “Israel has not been idle.” “Although we have a definite concern about any stimulation of the arms race, it would be unwise to translate that concern as weakness.” he said. He stressed that “if the arms race has to go on, we are not going to lose it.”
He also said that recent rumors that the United States had threatened to take steps against Israel if it sought to develop nuclear arms “have no foundation.” He stressed that Israeli-United States talks continued as planned in a friendly atmosphere. “Some of the differences of opinion between us and Washington stem from the fact that they want to see us as a developed and not an underdeveloped country,” he declared.”Our attitude to this is mixed — on the one hand, it is a compliment and on the other, we cannot accept this.”
He stressed that the rise of Middle East Arab regimes opposed to President Nasser of Egypt was “more of a challenge than a threat to Israel’s security.” This development, he asserted, showed that the idea of a pan-Arab Middle East would not materialize. He added that it was “difficult” to assume that peace would be reached in the Middle East in the next few years but that in the interim Israel could work “to increase stability in the area and create a situation in which no one will use force to solve problems. If we achieve this, it will be an important achievement.”